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U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, was at Ocean Medical Center in Brick on Saturday to participate in a roundtable discussion about the opioid addiction crisis in Ocean County and throughout the United States.
Erik Larsen

BRICK – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., came to ground zero of the opioid epidemic in his home state on Saturday to warn that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could undermine the progress that has been made here in fighting the scourge.

“What expanding Medicaid did was allow about 1.3 million more Americans to get access to drug treatment services, which often families of modest income will have a hard time struggling for,” Booker said at a roundtable discussion on opioid abuse at Ocean Medical Center.

The panel was chaired by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and attended by law enforcement officials, medical professionals, civic leaders, recovering opioid addicts and the family of an addict who died less than a year ago from an overdose.

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Booker said the repeal of Obamacare would have significantly impeded efforts to battle the addiction crisis and stripped access to treatment for those who need it most.

He said the ACA was bringing billions of dollars into New Jersey and that the controversial health care law should be strengthened so that treatment options are expanded to New Jerseyans battling addiction.

“About a third of us get our health insurance through our jobs,” Booker said. “Before the Affordable Care Act, those workplace plans did not cover services for drug addiction….